Your propane tank is built to last for many years. However, propane tanks are not designed to be effective and safe forever. Every once in a while, these tanks must be inspected, or it is not permitted that they be refilled. This is an important safety measure since the propane gas inside is under pressure. It's important to familiarize yourself with the life span of your tank and know what to look for to determine whether they might need to be requalified.
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Propane Tank Certification Date
Regardless of the type you have or where you purchased it, every propane tank must be checked within 12 years of the date it was manufactured. Depending on the way it is inspected and the certification it then receives, the tank must be checked again every five, seven or 12 years. This is done as a precaution to protect you from a faulty tank.
To check your propane tank's certification date, take a look at the metal collar of the tank, which is the highest part nearest the valve. There should be a date stamped onto this piece. If the date is more than 12 years in the past, before you use it again you should bring your tank to a retailer or a service center that is qualified to check propane cylinders.
Propane Tank Inspection Types
If there is not a letter following the date on your tank, it indicates that it was inspected using a particular method called "external hydrostatic expansion." This indicates that you should have it requalified within 12 years of the date on the tank.
Do you have an "s" on the tank after the date? This indicates that the internal hydrostatic method was used for its inspection, and you have seven years from the date stamped to get it checked out again. If the letter stamped is an "e," then the tank was inspected only visually and externally. This means that you'll need to get it inspected within five years of the date indicated.
Propane Tank Recertification Stamp
When you take your propane tank to get recertified, you will receive another recertification stamp with the current date. In addition, depending on the type of inspection that was conducted, the tank will be marked either with no letter, with an "e" or with an "s." This should signify to you and to any future technicians who examine the tank when it was last checked and in which way.